Rosen: Let's roll, sans crescent

Mike Rosen
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Thank you, Tom Tancredo. Your letter to the National Park Service was a catalyst to action. Last week, the Park Service announced that it would change the name and modify the design of a proposed memorial to the 40 passengers of United Flight 93 who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. This was the airplane hijacked by al-Qaida Islamofascist terrorists intent on a target, perhaps the White House or the Capitol, in Washington, D.C. Learning via cell phone conversations of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the passengers rose up heroically to thwart the terrorists' plan. We can only imagine the battle that ensued on that plane. In the end, the terrorists failed and all aboard were dead after Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pa.

Out of an infinite number of themes that might have been selected for this memorial, an advisory committee that included some family members of Flight 93 passengers picked the design of Paul Murdoch, a Los Angeles architect, titled Crescent of Embrace. That's when the fireworks started. The crescent, you see, is the traditional symbol of ritual and religious life for Muslims, like the ones who hijacked three airplanes on 9/11 and turned them into deadly missiles. Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists but the ones who took Flight 93 certainly were both. Murdoch claims that the crescent connection was inadvertent, that his design is about "healing" and "contemplation." He adds that the 40 wind chimes to be hung at the site is a "gesture of healing and bonding." Did I say he was from California?

Although some of the family members on the selection committee expressed concern about the perception of Islamic symbolism, their objections were dismissed. Other family members supported the design. Perhaps they were so consumed with grief that it deadened their other senses. While we sympathize with their loss, we needn't defer to their poor judgment. All Americans have a voice in the design of this national monument. Perhaps some of the family members share Murdoch's sentiments, but it should be noted that these families don't speak for the victims any more than Cindy Sheehan can speak for her late son, Casey. If the last memory of a Flight 93 hero was having his throat slit by a terrorist's box cutter, he might have a different idea about the memorial.

Suppose it were 1941 and some La-La Land artiste proposed that a Pearl Harbor memorial feature a rising sun to symbolize rebirth and renewal. Would it be irrelevant that this was the symbol of Imperial Japan? In this era of politically correct hypersensitivity to any imagined affront, liberals are suddenly insensitive to the symbolism in this case.

On the anniversaries of 9/11, it's not hard to visualize al-Qaida celebrating the crescent of maple trees, turning red in the fall, "embracing" the Flight 93 crash site. To them, it would be a memorial to their fallen martyrs. Why invite that? Just come up with a different design that eliminates the double meaning and the dispute.

This isn't the first controversy involving war memorials. Maya Lin was the Yale architecture student whose design was selected for the Vietnam veterans' memorial in the early 1980s. Lin's admitted intent was to make an anti-war statement. The Vietnam veterans' memorial is indeed a moving tribute to the 58,000 who died in that war, but the design was opposed, at the time, by many Vietnam vets who wanted a more uplifting memorial in keeping with the original charter to honor not just the dead but all of the more than 2.5 million who served. The proposed 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero in New York is also mired in controversy over its hijacking by guilt-ridden, blame-America-first peaceniks who want to turn it into an oppressed people's museum, including exhibits and seminars on segregation in the U.S., mistreatment if Indians, and abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib (that's abuses by U.S. personnel, of course, not Saddam Hussein). Personally, when it comes to war memorials, I'm partial to the kind of heroic statuary embodied in the United States Marine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, depicting the raising of the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

This isn't a time for "healing" with Islamofascists; it's a time for killing them and their leaders. We're in the early stages of this World War IV, not the end. The most fitting theme for the 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania was captured in the spirit of Todd Beamer's immortal words as he and his fellow passengers took their fate and the nation's into their own hands: "Let's roll!"

And they didn't mean a crescent roll.

Mike Rosen's radio show airs daily from 9 a.m. to noon on 850 KOA.

About Mike Rosen
Mike Rosen hosts Denver's most popular local radio talk show on 850 KOA. He holds an MBA degree from the University of Denver, was a corporate finance executive at Samsonite and Beatrice Foods, served as Special Assistant for Financial Management to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the Pentagon and is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He's traveled extensively in Europe, the Far East, Latin America, southern Africa and the former Soviet Union. Mike grew up in New York and has lived in Colorado for over 30 years.

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